Toyota Top Auto Brand, Tesla Gaining: Survey

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It's becoming routine for Toyota. The latest survey of how Americans perceive various car brands ranks the Japanese auto maker as number one.

Toyota was followed by Ford, Honda and Chevrolet in the annual car-brand perception survey conducted by Consumer Reports.

(Read More: Toyota Wins Back World's Top Auto Sales Crown From GM)

The top six brands in the survey are the same as in 2012 and just one brand, Dodge at number nine, moved into the top ten. Consumer Reports conducted the survey by asking more than two thousand Americans their perception of each brand in seven categories including quality,safety, performance and design.

Car-Brand Perception

Brand [Score]

#1 Toyota - [133]

#2 Ford - [118]

#3 Honda - [114]

#4 Chevrolet - [94]

#5 Mercedes-Benz - [77]

#6 Volvo - [77]

#7 Cadillac - [66]

#8 BMW - [66]

#9 Dodge - [56]

#10 Tesla - [55]

Source: Consumer Reports

Tougher To Stand Out

The 2013 survey found it is becoming tougher for car companies to cut through the clutter and stand out from the competition.

"Consumers are not seeing as much differentiation between brands as they have in the past," said Jeff Bartlett with Consumer Reports.

(Read More: Honda Trims Full-Year Profit Forecast on China Hit)

In particular, Consumer Reports says it is taking more than a single ad campaign or one new model to make an impact on Americans.

The exception is Tesla. The electric-vehicle company has just one model, the Model S, and its marketing has been limited. However, Tesla has been in the headlines several times in the last six months as the Model S was honored with awards such as Motor Trend's Car of the Year. Tesla raised its score in the latest survey to 55 from 42 last year.

The Bottom Ten

The Consumer Reports Survey showed an interesting collection of car brands at the bottom of its list. Fiat is just starting to re-establish itself in the U.S., while Jeep has been a well-known brand for years.

(Read More: Toyota to Recall 752,000 Corollas in US for Airbag Problems)

Brand [Score]

#1 Scion - [6]

#2 Mitsubishi - [6]

#3 Ram - [7]

#4 Fiat - [8]

#5 Mini - [10]

#6 Land Rover - [11]

#7 Jaguar - [15]

#8 Mazda - [16]

#9 Jeep - [16]

#10 Porsche - [21]

Source: Consumer Reports